Eagles Don't Need to Add Running Back

Okay take a deep breath..... and relax. Not only is this Brian Westbrook situation nothing to panic about... yet, but also the Eagles are fine at running back with the players currently on the roster.

First off, this whole situation probably isn't as big a deal as it seems. I understand that there isn’t much Eagles related to discuss currently, as the OTA's are fairly non-news worthy. Brian Westbrook had successful surgery today, and informed Andy Reid and head trainer Rick Burkholder that he was doing well post-surgery. Westbrook will be on a non-weight bearing cast for two weeks and then take it from there day by day. Westbrook will then begin to work one on one with Burkholder on his rehab. Hopefully he will be ready to go at some point during training camp, or if not, by mid-August and ready by the regular season. There is no need to panic just yet.

It would not be a smart idea to bring in a veteran running back, especially one like Edgerrin James, who is looking to be a #1 running back somewhere. If you add a veteran running back, and Brian Westbrook turns out to be healthy by the time the season starts, you then have an overload at the running back position. The Eagles are counting on LeSean McCoy to play a large role in the offense this season. But just for the hell of it, let's take a look at some of the running backs the Eagles could add--

Edgerrin James - You can't sign a guy like this who gets upset when he doesn't get enough carries, and flat out is past his prime. Edge wants to be the #1 option, and he wouldn’t be on this team.

Warrick Dunn - Another guy who is past his prime, and at this point doesn't give you anything that you don't get from the other smaller backs on the team, except blocking.

Deuce McAllister - Deuce is a good big back, but is coming off torn ACL's in both legs. And again, he is past his prime.

Michael Pittman - Was never that good to begin with, and is more of a fullback. Pittman is surprise surprise, also past his prime.

There are other guys in the mix such as Ahman Green, and J.J. Arrington, who the Eagles can look out, but they simply do not need to, even if Westbrook is seriously injured. I will continue to tell everyone who listens - LeSean McCoy is the real deal. The Eagles are in good hands with LeSean McCoy, and he is the running back of the future, and is a beast. Another reason is that fullback Leonard Weaver knows the west coast offense, and can both run the ball and catch the ball. Look for Weaver to get some carries this season, unlike Eagles’ fullbacks of the past. The person who may be most affected by this is Lorenzo Booker. He may have a better chance to make the team now, even if Westbrook comes back healthy, simply because Booker can take some of the pressure off McCoy, so McCoy doesn't have to carry the entire load as a rookie. You also have a guy in Kyle Eckel who can play both halfback and fullback, and was effective rushing the ball last season when he was given the chance.

Not only do I believe the Eagles have the personnel to succeed in the backfield should Westbrook stay injured, they also don't need to sign another guy because the Eagles flat out don't use that many running backs. Besides Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter only ran the ball 76 times last season, and was very effective when he ran it. And that number of carries includes two starts for Buckhalter last season when Westbrook was injured. Besides that, we all know that Booker and Eckel barely saw the field. The Eagles just don't use the running back that much to have a crowded backfield.

So let’s not push the panic button just yet, and wait and see how this situation plays out. Westbrook should be fine by the start of the regular season. And in the slight chance that he isn't, you are still in good hands in the backfield.

1 comment:

T-Bone said...

Odd to preach patience, rather than panic, when it comes to Team Gold Standard -- particularly in regard to key talent positions ("We don't need no stinkin' number 1 wide receiver..."). But in this case, I completely agree. BWest will now require extensive rehab, and is likely to sit out most of camp and preseason, but there's no reason he shouldn't be in peak condition by opening day. In fact, he may well be in better condition going into this year than he has been for several seasons -- and he sure as hell doesn't need the drudgery of training camp or the risk of useless preseason snaps to be on top his game. And with Shady McCoy -- possibly the best pick in this year's entire NFL draft -- waiting in the wings, I feel pretty comfortable that we can all breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to the Birds' backfield this season. I actually have a strange feeling that LBooker will contribute positively this year as well -- and optimism is not at all my typical feeling when looking forward with the Birds (or most teams, for that matter -- I've been a Philly fan too long...). So I fully concur that there's no reason to panic. And as strange as it feels to repeat an often used Reidism, when it comes to the backfield, "we'll be fine."